Title: The Father, the Daughter and the Holy Ghost
Weatherby Swann was caught in an awkward moment, during a very formal dinner, with one Lord Cutler Beckett, sent to oversea the difficulties the East India Company was having with local pirates. It was not the awkwardness of explaining his protege's, one Captain James Norrington, failure to overcome such a trifling concern. Nor was it the over-salted pork.
It was the two ladies whispering to each other, rather loudly, to his right, about what dreadful scandal it was that his only daughter had been left unchaperoned on an island, with that dreadful pirate, her honor so compromised that she was forced to accept proposal from a peasant blacksmith. Of course, everyone knew she had been overly free that boy for quite some time. They tittered.
Weatherby coughed brusquely into his napkin, while Beckett looked at the two women pointedly, a fork dangling limply from his left hand, in bemusement. He gave Weatherby a limpid smile. "It seem you have more difficulty holding the reins than I had been informed."
Weatherby ground his teeth and finally looked at his daughter, one Miss Elizabeth Swann, but she was making great study of her plate, on which she had built an odd structure made from pork, potatoes, carrots, and a piece of bread. The carrot seemed to be a mast. He trusted her maid, Estrella, to inform him of any unusual change in his daughter's health. As there had been none, he did not appreciate the gossip or the Lord's insinuation.
"Port Royal and my own home were not over-run by mere pirates, my lord, but monstrous ghouls parading as such. It was hardly a routine difficulty."
"I'm sure," Beckett answered smoothly, "and allowing those who aid and abet piracy freedom from penalty is equally aberrant."
That was when all visible, natural light, took on an unnatural green hue. Several people were heard to shout in warning of tornados or monsoons, but they were silenced by the sharp increase in light that temporarily blinded all present. Once the event subsided, many stood from their seats, or left their positions, if servants, to rush to the bay side windows.
Where there had been open water, patrolled by a small fleet of EIC frigates, under the protection of Naval galleons, there was a far larger fleet of motley ships. Most of them flew red or black flags... and they were engaged in battle, with ships flying British colors.
Beckett patted his lips with napkin. "Fascinating."
Weatherby closed his eyes, "Not again."
The pirate ships seemed to hound one particular frigate, which broke from rank and fled into port, specifically toward Beckett's ships. They turned, slowly, into action, accepting the refugee into escort as soldiers and marines finally responded from the barracks on shore.
Beckett went back to the table, sat down and resumed eating. "I hope it doesn't take long," he prompted. It's so inconvenient when protocol is fumbled."
Though the gathered crowd of guests were prepared to panic, and some where, while servants rushed to arm themselves, Beckett's calm nonchalance tempered their response. After all, pirate attacks on civilian ports occurred somewhat frequently and the recent influx of marines would surely prevent outright assault.
One guest asked, curiously, "What is that funny looking one?"
"Which funny looking one?" Murmured Beckett.
"The funny looking one," repeated the guest.
Several others agreed that it was a very funny ship. Beckett was forced to rise and come to the window where there were bunched in a chattering group.
"Oh," he said. He pursed his lips. "Wakou," he explained. When the crowd stared at him, to a man, he sighed. "Filthy pirates from the South China Seas. The sail about in queer ships with queer sails and are the ruin of English trade," he paused to sneer lightly, "which is difficult enough with the closed ports. Ignorant rabble."
"This isn't South China," hazarded Weatherby.
"Ships don't appear from thin air," countered Beckett.
A woman asked, in quavering tone, "Aren't you afraid?" She pointed at the window, "It's witchcraft at work!"
"I find that reason conquers all," reassured Beckett. "Come, let us return to the... fine meal." He smiled ever so pleasantly at Weatherby, again. "We have pressing legal matters to discuss, do we not?"
So, with some trepidation, the guests resumed their seats while the servants returned bearing wine, lemonade, muskets and powder horns. It was all perfectly polite, as the roar of canon thrummed outside. That was, until the cacophony grew in volume until it culminated with the battering at the front doors.
Weatherby asked, "Should we get that?" while Beckett appeared to have tasted something vile. When the lord did not answer, save for a fierce twitching at his temple, Weatherby swallowed, rising from the head of the table.
Before he could say anything, Elizabeth stated baldly, "I'm getting a real sword, this time, and a pistol, and an axe and -"
"Not now," he growled in warning, something he rarely ever had to do in public.
She made a face at him, pointing at the door, over her shoulder, whispering heatedly, "Pirates."
Beckett sniffed. "I heard you held a favorable disposition toward pirates."
Perhaps a heated argument would have erupted between them, but the front doors crashed open. Through them rushed a horde of filthy, mangy pirates who quickly began to dispatch the poorly trained servants. Weatherby could not help but notice they favored cudgels and wounding his men over outright murder. It was somewhat mollifying.
"Remember, you morons," shouted a man, "no murder! It'll muck it up for all of us!" He was tall, broad shouldered, with a scraggly beard and wore an equally so macaroni hat. There was a monkey on his shoulder. He bared his teeth in an enormous, but wholly insincere, grin. "Hullo, Weatherby!" He made for the table.
"Oh, God," answered Weatherby.
A second familiar face appeared, and Jack Sparrow piped in with, "Hullo, Weatherby, Oh, God, it's him again. There, I said your part, so you needn't repeat yourself." He jumped forward, turning to face the assembled pirates, waving his hands urgently at them. "Sealing all exits, remember?"
They dispersed throughout the house. Sparrow turned back to the guests and waved, trotting into the main room, carefully veering around a lady who had fainted. He pointed at her as he passed, "You can move her to a more comfortable location if you wish - of course, I can move her instead if it would be too much effort."
Weatherby frowned. "I'm certain my servants can attend to it."
"Jack?" Questioned Elizabeth. "What are you doing here?" She beetled her brows, looking at Hector Barbossa, "And you're dead. He shot you."
"I got better."
Both men were studying her, with peculiar expression.
"Quit fucking about," shouted a woman's voice from outside. She soon followed through the doorway. She jangled as she walked, from the assortment of swords and pistols, sliding atop bronze armor. Weatherby's first thought was that her hat was even more ridiculous than Barbossa's, but this observation was soon overwhelmed by the odder men who followed her. They were largely of stunted height, dark skin, wore their hair in long, braided queues and spoke in an unfamiliar language. The woman replied in the same, though she was plainly English in voice.
Jack looked at Barbossa, wrinkling his nose, "I hate this part of the plan."
"Oh, don't be such a coney," answered Barbossa. "I'll do it if you can't."
"Hurry up and decide," snapped the woman. "The longer we stay the worse it'll be."
"According to Calypso."
"I know, let's all stay and find out if it angers her," suggested Sparrow.
Elizabeth took advantage of this debate to step forward, leaning forward in horrified fascination. "Oh my lord, this is impossible."
Barbossa clubbed her on the side of the head and the pirate woman flinched. "That hurt," she muttered.
Barbossa shrugged, saying rather insincerely, "Sorry, your highness."
"Go get your bauble," was her only answer.
As Barbossa left, in search of his mystery item, Beckett folded his hands on the table. "Now this is something that I have never-"
Jack clubbed him on the head.
Finally, Weatherby could not contain his own curiosity. He raised an arm, to put it on the woman's shoulder, but she stepped out of his reach. He asked, "Elizabeth?"
In the brightly lit room, the brim of her hat was insufficient to hide her eyes. She continued to back away, before turning away to rejoin her men. "Goodbye father. I love you."